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Bible Engagement Blog


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Naming the Book

Sometime during the Middle Ages, the collection of 66 books that we generally refer to as the Bible was named biblia sacra (holy books). When the King James Version was compiled in 1611, the publishers named it The Holy Bible. Since then there have been hundreds of different titles for the Book of books.

Publishers have been very creative in naming the Book. Broadly speaking, an English Bible is named by translation (e.g. NIV, ESV, NKJV), type (e.g. Matthew Henry Study Bible, Gospel Transformation Bible), audience (e.g. Baby’s First Bible, The Action Bible), or event (e.g. Family Devotional Bible, Preaching Bible). A possible fifth category of names for the Book could be those that are unusual (e.g. Waterproof Bible, Klingon Bible).

Why does the Book have so many different names? Maybe because its compilation includes so many different genres of literature. Maybe because it’s a book that’s unlike any other book. Or maybe because, with so many different people involved in its publication, there are a variety of opinions as to what the title should be.

The essence of a book is often the main factor that informs the naming of a book. Many English translations of the Book use the word Bible in the title because it comes from the Greek word biblos (βίβλος) meaning book. Biblos is used about 10 times in the New Testament. The first writer to refer to the Old and New Testaments together as the Bible was Chrysostom in 223 AD when he called the two testaments ta biblia (the books).

A good title for a book usually provides a hint about the story. When the publishers of the KJV used the word holy in the title they obviously wanted to communicate to potential readers that the story is sacred, sanctified and hallowed. Another meaning for holy is “set apart.” The KJV title, therefore, indicates that the Book is unlike any other book because the author is God (who is set apart from us).

Book titles frequently include keywords describing the most important thing, person or idea in the book. If I were naming the Book, I wouldn’t use the word holy or study in the title (two of the most commonly used words) because the fact that the Book is holy and should be studied aren’t the most important things about it. The most important thing about the Book is that, from beginning to end, it’s all about a person – Jesus Christ. For this reason, my favourite title for the Book, of all existing titles, is The Jesus Bible.

What’s your favourite title for the Book? The title you choose says something about who you are. If your favourite title is the Justice Bible, I suspect you’re passionate about setting things right. If it’s The Message, you probably value God’s Word in an easily understood format. Or if it’s The Sportsman’s Bible, you’re more than likely an outdoor enthusiast who likes fishing or hunting.

George Eliot said, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” While the title of the Book is important, what’s more important is that we don’t prejudge the worth or value of the Book by its name. When all is said and done, what really counts is engaging with the Book. For unlike any other book, when you open the Book, regardless of its title, it wants you to engage with it so that it can engage with you!

© Scripture Union Canada 2020

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Helping the 95%

Many Christians don’t engage with the Bible because they don’t know how to. According to Dr. Phil Collins, Center for Scripture Engagement, Taylor University, “Ninety-five percent of Christians say they have never been taught how to engage Scripture.”

That’s an alarming statistic. Alarming because it indicates a dramatic failure by teachers and pastors to equip Christians at the most basic level of spiritual formation.

In fairness to teachers and pastors, they usually know a few reading-based approaches to Scripture engagement and sometimes share these approaches with their congregations. Unfortunately, many pastors know very little about non-reading or minimum reading-based approaches. This is significant because most Christians, even in literate societies, need to be taught non-reading or minimum reading-based approaches to Scripture engagement.

Helping the 95% begins with the recognition that everyone is unique and engage with the Bible in diverse ways. That’s because our brains are wired differently. Right-brain dominant thinkers prefer to engage with the Bible in more creative and artistic ways and left-brain dominant thinkers prefer to engage with the Bible in more analytical and methodical ways.

Simply telling the 95% they should engage with the Bible through reading based methods alone is grossly inadequate. Bible engagement is effective when it’s geared to a person’s governing learning style. If the 95% are going to engage Scripture well they must be taught approaches utilizing visual, auditory, reading/writing or kinesthetic styles of learning.

If you know how to do it, the rudimentary principles and practices of how to engage Scripture can be taught in a 3-hour workshop. However, this isn’t happening because most pastors and teachers don’t know how to teach others how to engage Scripture.

To address this problem, Scripture Union published Bible Engagement Basics, a handbook that equips individuals and communities with biblical strategies, approaches, tools, and principles to engage with the Bible. If pastors and teachers read Chapter 2 of Bible Engagement Basics, they will be equipped with enough content to teach the 95% how to become Bible engagers.

Most of the 95% are oral preference learners. Oral preference learners learn by listening, talking, seeing, and doing. Interactive practical workshops are therefore the ideal environment for teaching the 95% how to engage Scripture.

Learning how to engage Scripture isn’t enough in and of itself. Bible engagement needs to be cultivated. This is challenging and requires ongoing individual support and encouragement. If, for example, there are several people in a congregation who thrive in an environment where they can engage with the Bible through dramatizing Scripture, then opportunities for doing this need to be created, resourced and sustained.

Helping the 95% is a massive undertaking and will never be accomplished if we don’t help each other. If someone knows how to engage the Bible through journaling, he/she should teach others. If someone knows how to engage the Bible using the Ignatian Method, he/she should teach others. Every one of us needs to play a part, even a small part, in helping someone else engage Scripture.

Will you help the 95%? The challenge facing the church isn’t Bible accessibility or distribution. The 95% have the Bible in multiple printed and online formats. The challenge is Bible engagement. The 95% need someone to teach them how to engage Scripture in a way that works well for them.

© Scripture Union Canada 2020

2 Corinthians 4:5


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The Abide Bible

Finally, a Bible engagement Bible! For years, I’ve wondered why there isn’t a Bible that incorporates suggestions to actively equip people, in a variety of ways, to connect with the Word and the One who is the Word. To say I’m excited is an understatement! I recently received that Bible in a green cloth-bound hardcover. A gift from my friend Phil Collins, the General Editor. It’s called The Abide Bible, and it was beautifully presented along with a journal and pen.

For as long as I can remember, pastors have been urging their congregations, “To study the Bible.” Bible publishers have supported this injunction with a proliferation of study Bibles. Now I love to study the Bible, as we should (cf. 2 Timothy 2:15), but Bible study shouldn’t be the only way Christians interact with the Bible. We should employ more than our intellect to meet with God in and through His Word (e.g. Joshua 1:8, Psalm 119:11, James 1:22). Our heads, hearts and bodies should engage with the Scriptures. Study without reflection or reflection without application results in a Bible engagement malfunction. To connect adequately with the Bible we must read, reflect, and respond to God’s Word.

The practice of reading the Bible is different from what’s required to reflect or respond to the Bible. To engage fully with the Bible we must learn a range of Bible engagement practices. Most Christians say they’ve never been taught how to engage with the Bible. If you’re one of those Christians, then The Abide Bible may be the best Bible for you. That’s because The Abide Bible, as it says on the inside front cover, has “prompts or sidebars designed to help you engage passages and deepen your understanding and experience of God’s Word.”

To assist people in experiencing God’s Word The Abide Bible incorporates five Bible engagement practices: contemplation, journaling, picture it, praying Scripture and engaging through art. To incorporate these five practices in a Bible, in my view, is revolutionary!

A study Bible, by virtue of its name, says, “This is for students.” The Abide Bible, by virtue of its name, says, “This is for people who want to sojourn with the Lord using a variety of senses and connections.”

The Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement contributors who collaborated on the development of the materials for The Abide Bible have, through the prompts and sidebars, made the Bible more accessible to more people. No two people will engage with the Bible in the same way. There are multiple learning styles and multiple intelligences. The Abide Bible makes it easier for spatial and linguistic learners to engage with the Scriptures. If words, feelings, pictures, sanctified imagination, conversations or images help you read/hear the Word and meet with God, then I strongly recommend The Abide Bible for consideration.

Am I a little bit biased when it comes to endorsing The Abide Bible? Yes. I’m unashamedly a Bible engagement guy who has written a book and teaches Bible engagement classes to help people connect with God through contemplating, journaling, picturing, praying, engaging art and other practices as a means to dwell in the Word. I also became a fan of The Abide Bible when I opened the presentation page and saw Psalm 119:105 – it’s the theme text for Scripture Union Canada, the agency where I serve as President. All that to say that you should check it out for yourself at https://www.thomasnelsonbibles.com/abidebible/

The Abide Bible, Thomas Nelson, 2020.

© Scripture Union Canada 2020

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Bible Engagement After COVID-19

I’ve recently been thinking about what happens after COVID-19. When the lockdown ends, how should churches and ministries help people connect with Jesus and His Word? Here are five brief thoughts about Bible engagement after COVID-19:

1. Building trust with people.

The pandemic has stirred up nervousness and anxiety. People are more concerned than usual about what they can or can’t do and who they can or can’t trust. Innate suspicions about the Bible may therefore increase. The big challenge on the backend of the virus will be to earn the trust of not-yet Christians. This won’t happen overnight. It will be mainly through building relational trust that we’ll get opportunities to share the Word.

2. Reconfiguring the presentation of the Bible.

Both community and technology need to be prioritized. After COVID-19, people will be looking to personalize truth through online means. The ways in which we invite participation and interaction with the Bible will be critical to successful connections being made. We must invite people to engage their character, identity and imagination with the Bible. As author Thomas Hohstadt suggests, to do this “We must risk transcending the environment we’re in … turning our backs on the pious paraphrases of the past … separating the mutable from the immutable.”

3. Interactive communities.

Interactivity will be highly valued after the pandemic, but with some social distancing. After COVID-19, we’ll be living in a new age of connectivity where we’ll network online in relationally interdependent frameworks in which there is a participatory flow of imaginative reason and metaphor. Strategies or approaches to Bible engagement after the pandemic should thus facilitate the means to invite and cultivate ways for individuals to interact with the Bible and each other as virtual communities.

4. New media or technology.

People need to get up close and personal with the Bible when they use new media or technology. We must continue exploring and creating innovative online ways to connect people with the Bible. Flexible use of time and space is required that will reach people anywhere, at any time, and every way. High-tech advancements are not an option, they’re a necessity. We must upgrade the technology harnessed to connect people during COVID-19 to facilitate easier, faster, immersive connections.

5. “To infinity … and beyond.”

Buzz Lightyear’s classic line, “To infinity … and beyond” reminds us that there are no limits. As germophobes and risk-averse people retreat to the safety of their homes, we must find ways to connect them effectively with the Scriptures. In the changed world after COVID-19 we’ll need to be smarter at how we engage people with the Bible. How can we enhance connectivity with God’s Story through virtual reality or other means? What methods will connect people living in an uncertain world with the certainty of the Word? While we don’t have all the answers, God will reveal them to us. So let’s explore every option for connecting people with Jesus and His Story.

© Scripture Union Canada 2020

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Sola Scriptura or Solo Scriptura?

“All Scripture is God-breathed …” 2 Timothy 3:16. The inspiration of Scripture should never be a matter of dispute among Christians, but are the Scriptures the only source for theology?

Some Christians (mainly Catholics) insist that both Scripture and church tradition, as given by the Holy Spirit, are the source for theology. Others (mainly Anabaptists and Quakers) insist that Scripture, and the Holy Spirit speaking new revelation to the individual, are the source for theology. Yet another group of Christians (mainly Evangelicals) insist that the Bible alone, as illuminated by the Holy Spirit, is the source for theology.

Each group of Christians cites the work of the Holy Spirit to legitimize their position, yet each of the views is problematic. When it’s assumed that God is the author of both Scripture and tradition equally, what happens when tradition clashes with or contradicts what the Bible says? When it’s assumed that an internal voice along with Scripture is authoritative, what happens when the internal voice says something the Bible doesn’t say? And when it’s assumed that there’s no authority other than the Bible, what happens when there’s disagreement about what the Bible says?

In considering the last question, it’s helpful to know that Protestant reformers made a distinction between the principles of “sola Scriptura” (Scripture alone) and “nuda Scriptura” (bare Scripture). “Sola Scriptura” has to do with the sufficiency of Scripture as the Christian’s supreme authority in all spiritual matters. “Nuda Scriptura” is the idea that the Bible is the Christian’s only theological authority in all spiritual matters. The best transliteration for “nuda Scriptura” today is “solo Scriptura” (just me and my Bible).

The distinction between “sola Scriptura” and “solo Scriptura” is important. The two are not the same and shouldn’t be equated. The emphasis in “sola Scriptura” is on theology being ultimately subject to the Scriptures. The emphasis in “solo Scriptura” is narrower. It gives prominence to personal interpretation removed from the Church.

“Solo Scriptura” naturally appeals to people who are suspicious of authority or individualistically inclined. The revivalist preacher Alexander Campbell (1788-1866) captured the essence of “solo Scriptura” when he said, “I have endeavored to read the Scriptures as though no one had read them before me, and I am as much on my guard against reading them today, through the medium of my own views yesterday, or a week ago, as I am against being influenced by any foreign name, authority, or system whatever.”

People are in error if they outright reject the theological insights of others in favour of their own interpretations. They’re also dangerous and divisive. Dangerous because “solo Scriptura” subjects theology to the whims and frailty of subjectivism, and divisive because “solo Scriptura” has no court of appeal for theological disagreements.

“Sola Scriptura”, on the other hand, depends on a communal reading of the Scriptures. It does this by interacting with the theological insights and understanding of Christians past and present. No man or woman is an island to himself or herself. “Sola scriptura” recognizes that while Scripture is the final authority to judge Christian doctrine and practice, it’s not the only resource for theology. That is, “sola Scriptura” identifies that the core convictions of the Church, as long as they don’t compete with or supplement the Scriptures, are essential resources for biblical interpretation, theological reflection, and interdenominational dialogue.

So what happens when there’s disagreement about what the Bible says? While there are no easy answers, it’s naïve to think that just me and my Bible is more than enough. We need one another. We need, with the Scriptures as the primary authority, to tap into the exegetical insights, doctrinal clarity, and pastoral perceptions of Christians through the ages.

© Scripture Union Canada 2020

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Reboot

The coronavirus has shut down the system. Everything has been disrupted, upended or unsettled. Isolated from one another, we’re uncertain, disorientated, anxious, overwhelmed, or sorrowful. As the storm surges, we’re scrambling to adjust. As we struggle to understand, we’re trying to figure out what to do.

COVID-19 is one of the most dangerous diseases that we’ll face in our lifetime. Things are going to be different for some time. Yet it’s not all bad news. While a vaccine is being developed, it’s a chance to reboot.

Reboot is a computer term. When a computer malfunctions, the operating system is shut down, fixed, then restarted to get it back up and running.

Opportunities to recalibrate are usually rare. The limitations imposed by COVID-19, while devastating, open the door to new prospects and possibilities. Now that we have some time on our hands, what will we do with it?

To begin, we shouldn’t waste time trying to explain the unexplainable. Asking why God has allowed this pandemic to happen won’t make much of a difference. Instead of looking for reasons, we should recover the biblical practice of lament. As the Anglican theologian, N. T. Wright reminds us, “it is part of the Christian vocation not to be able to explain—and to lament instead.”

We should also recognize that along with the world, we’re all broken. When the Israelites returned to Judah after 70 years of captivity in Babylon, they detected, despite the fact that they had rebuilt Jerusalem, that something was still broken – themselves. This pandemic has brought us face to face with a harsh reality, despite everything humanity has built over the centuries, something is still broken – ourselves.

We are in exile because of COVID-19, and we need healing – physically and spiritually. Spiritual healing doesn’t come from a needle. An anti-viral injection can’t give us immunity from the darkness that plagues our souls. Resurrection comes through crucifixion. The healing we need in our inner being comes from embracing the Healer, Jesus Christ.

With our usual routines and hectic pace interrupted, the coronavirus enables us to ask, “What is God saying to me/us at this time?” Asking and answering this question could become a turning point for individuals, the Church, and the nation.

If there’s going to be a turning point, there needs to be a starting point. The starting point is to engage and reengage with Jesus. “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty” Zechariah 1:3 (NIV).

To return to the Lord we must return to the Bible. In these days of uncertainty and disorientation, we need certainty and orientation. God’s Word is sufficient for all our needs. As the pandemic surges, the Scriptures are the anchor in the squall. Those who abide in the Word will ride out the squall.

When the post-Babylonian Israelites realized their brokenness “they told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book … and He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law” Nehemiah 8:1-2 (NIV).

Note the phrase “listened attentively.” The beginning of something new will begin when we open our ears to hear the Word of the Lord.

Finally, we should pray. A new normal will emerge when the pandemic is over. The new normal will be an outcome of how we do or do not pray. COVID-19 is an invitation to pray. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV).

Reboot. When we engage and reengage with Jesus there is “a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV). Bad news will become good news. Life will blossom from death. What’s broken will be made whole again.

Resource:

Praying When You Don’t Have All The Answershttps://www.facebook.com/kensymes7/videos/2976801189041940/

© Scripture Union Canada 2020

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Whole Book Reading

For several months, my daily Bible reading plan has been to read a whole book of the Bible in one sitting. It’s been illuminating and rewarding.

There are many benefits to whole book reading:

  • You read like a writer
  • The themes and sub-themes come into focus
  • The structure and genre of the writing is more evident
  • The ebb and flow of different emotions (in both the text and the reader) are more pronounced
  • The rhythm and pattern of the message/story is more noticeable
  • The development of the writer’s theology is more obvious
  • It opens your heart and expands your understanding
  • It’s easier to see how the Scriptures are all about Jesus
  • You read more

Now that’s well and good, but how does one find enough time to read a whole book in one sitting? Actually, it’s quite easy. You read the short books on the days when you don’t have much time and the long books on the days when you have more time.

Saturday or Sunday afternoon is when I read the longer books like Isaiah or Luke. From Monday to Friday, I mainly read shorter books. On a hectic day when I’m time-challenged, I read one of the ten books that take me less than 5 minutes – Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Haggai, 2 Thessalonians, Titus, Philemon, 2 John, 3 John, or Jude.

Here’s a rough guide (our reading speeds are different) for how long it takes to read each book of the Bible:

15 minutes or less – Ruth, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Malachi, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude

30 minutes or less – Esther, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Hosea, Amos, Galatians, Ephesians

1 hour or less – Ezra, Nehemiah, Ecclesiastes, Daniel, Zechariah, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Hebrews

2 hours or less – Leviticus, Joshua, Judges, 2 Samuel , 1 Chronicles, Job, Proverbs, Mark, John, Revelation

3 hours or less – Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, 1 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Matthew, Luke, Acts

4 hours or less – Genesis, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel

5 hours or less – Psalms

Take control of your time. If you commit to an average of 12 minutes every day, you’ll read the whole Bible in 1 year. Do you have 5 minutes in your day? Read Haggai or Jude. Do you have 15 minutes? Read Ruth or James. Do you have an hour? Dive into Nehemiah or Romans.

© Scripture Union Canada 2020

2 Corinthians 4:5


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The Key to Interpreting the Bible

How can two astute people read the same passage of Scripture and arrive at two different interpretations?

The short answer is because people usually tend to use one of four ways to interpret the Bible – the literal, moral, anagogical or allegorical approach. The literal approach looks for the plain meaning of the text, the moral approach draws ethical lessons from the text, the anagogical approach searches for a mystical meaning in the text, and the allegorical approach looks for a second level or typological meaning in the text.

Decades ago, when I first learned about these four ways to interpret the Bible my blood pressure went up! I had many questions: What was the right approach? Could two or more approaches be right? If two or more approaches are right, what happens when the interpretations clash? How can a literal approach be used with poetic literature? How can an anagogical approach be a valid way to interpret didactic material? And so on.

My questions increased my level of frustration. As I thought about the matter, I became convinced that a Bible text, rightly read in its context, could only have one intended and definite meaning.  There was no way a text could have different, conflicting, or ethereal meanings.

Despite my hermeneutical concerns, I gradually developed a method of interpretation that applied literary, historical, theological, grammatical, contextual, translation, and supernatural considerations to my reading/hearing and preaching/teaching of the Bible. I felt like I was making progress, but I still wondered if I was missing something. Then the Scriptures themselves revealed the right way to interpret the Bible.

The right way to interpret the Bible isn’t a literal, moral, anagogical or allegorical approach. The right way to interpret the Bible isn’t tied to an approach, it’s tied to a person. Jesus is the hermeneutical key to the Bible.

To correctly handle God’s Word (cf. 2 Timothy 2:15) we must engage with it as the message, from beginning to end, about Jesus. This is essential. A Christocentric outlook is vital to understanding every page of the Bible. Any effort to determine the meaning of a text divorced from a Christocentric outlook leads to a distortion of its meaning.

This isn’t my opinion, it’s grounded in the Scriptures themselves. Jesus is the hermeneutical key to the Bible because He claims to be the subject of the Bible (cf. Luke 24:25-27). Because Jesus claims to be the subject of the Bible, the only adequate way to interpret the Bible is to consider every passage of scripture in the context of the life, death, resurrection, ascension, and future return of Jesus. As the Australian Evangelical theologian Graeme Goldsworthy says, “All biblical texts testify in some way to Jesus Christ. This makes him the center of biblical revelation and the fixed reference point for understanding everything else in the Bible.”

So what are some practical and theological implications?

  • To properly understand the Bible, saving faith in Jesus, coupled with the empowerment of the Spirit, is required
  • “We affirm that the Person and work of Jesus Christ are the central focus of the whole Bible” – Article III, Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics
  • Jesus is the only one who can mediate the Word of God to us (cf. 1 Timothy 2:5-6)
  • The person and work of Jesus must, directly and indirectly, inform our interpretation of a text
  • The meaning of a text is always linked to how God reveals Himself in and through Jesus
  • The main interpretive question is, “How does this passage attest to Christ?”
  • The Gospels are the methodological starting point for interpreting the Scriptures because this is where Jesus is seen most clearly
  • If an interpretation intentionally denies or ignores the person and/or work of Jesus, it’s a false interpretation
  • When we study, preach, or teach the Bible we should always link our studies, preaching, or teaching to Jesus
  • The application of the Bible to our daily lives must be connected to Jesus

The long and the short of it is this, Jesus is the linchpin to correctly understanding everything in the Bible. As Goldsworthy aptly says, “No Bible passage yields its true significance without reference to Jesus Christ in his gospel.”

Recommended reading:

Goldsworthy, Graeme., Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2000.

© Scripture Union Canada 2020

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Nothing Less

What makes a whole Christian?

American pastor A.W. Tozer once said, “The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.”

If nothing less than the whole Bible makes a whole Christian, then the number of Christians in the world is grossly exaggerated!

That’s a frightening thought, even though it’s only a half-truth (we’re not saved through reading/hearing the whole Bible).

What is true is the realization that when we only read/hear parts of the Bible we want to read/hear, we’re in dangerous territory. God gave us the whole Bible, not a condensed Bible, because every page of every book in the Bible is useful one way or another for knowing and growing in Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16).

Think of it this way: If the whole Bible is the whole truth of God, then to read, reflect and respond to less than the whole Bible is to read, reflect and respond to something less than the whole truth. When we respond to something less than the whole truth, we’re a cult!

The Apostle Paul was keenly aware of this. He did everything possible to proclaim the “whole will of God” (Acts 20:27) because he knew if he shrank away from declaring everything God wanted his listeners to hear, he would be held responsible for their eternal death!

What are you basing your life on? The whole truth, half the truth, a quarter of the truth or a few nuggets of truth? Anything less than the whole truth isn’t really the truth. That’s why, when we give testimony in a court of law, we’re asked to swear by Almighty God, to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The whole truth …

Are you ignoring half of the Bible? Maybe it’s time to speak to God about this – to promise to read, reflect and respond to the whole Bible and nothing less than the whole Bible.

© Scripture Union Canada 2020

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Bible More

Through the grace of God, we’re privileged to live in the era of Bible More. The Bible is more accessible and freely available today in more formats than ever before. Thanks to the great work of many Bible agencies and organizations, virtually everyone everywhere can read, hear and see the Scriptures in multiple ways.

Remarkably, the obstacles impeding engagement with God’s Word have been practically eliminated through the development of creative Bible resources. Isaiah 29:18 has come true. Now the deaf can “hear” and the blind can “see” the Word.

Yes, there are still small groups of people who don’t have a printed Bible in their heart language, but translators are in the process of completing the task. And yes, there are people living in countries where it’s illegal to own or read the Bible, but agencies like Open Doors find ways to distribute God’s Word despite ideological or religious barriers.

So why is Bible More noteworthy? It’s significant because it testifies to how Christians value everyone everywhere. If Christians didn’t share the Bible freely with all people, it would be culpable negligence. Christians do everything in their power to make the Bible accessible and available because it’s the only Word that connects people with the One who is the Word. That is, Christians connect people with the Bible because they want all people to know God and become part of His family.

Little wonder then that there are so many Christians involved in Bible More. Everywhere you look you’ll find Christians participating in Bible translation, Bible distribution, Bible literacy, Bible teaching, Bible study, or some form of Bible engagement.

That’s not to say that more can’t be done. Even though more people are able to connect with Jesus and His Story than ever before, many more people need to connect with Jesus and His Story. To help make these connections, check out these links:

YouVersion (also known as Bible.com or the Bible App) is an online and mobile Bible platform published for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and many other operating systems; it also supports a variety of other platforms. https://www.youversion.com/the-bible-app/

The Bible Project specializes in visual storytelling and illustrated videos. https://thebibleproject.com/explore/

Biblica provides programs and tools in print, digital, and audio formats that help people go deeper in God’s Word. https://www.biblica.com/resources/

Forum of Bible Agencies International promotes collaboration and cooperation amongst Bible Agencies with a shared vision of working together to maximize the access and impact of God’s word. https://forum-intl.org/

BibleStudyTools.com is the largest free online Bible website for verse search and in-depth studies. https://www.biblestudytools.com/

Lifewords helps people share the Bible’s life words and discover the good news that changes the world. https://www.lifewords.global/

BibleGateway.com is a website designed to allow easy reading, listening, studying, searching, and sharing of the Bible in many different versions and translations, including English, French, Spanish, and other languages. https://www.biblegateway.com/

Wycliffe focuses on Bible translation around the world. http://www.wycliffe.net/en/

Bible.is (Faith Comes by Hearing) provides free access to God’s Word through Audio Bibles in every translated language. http://www.bible.is/

Bible Society provides free Bible apps and Bible study resources. https://www.unitedbiblesocieties.org/

Scripture Union specializes in Bible reading guides for all ages that help people read, reflect, remember and respond to God’s Word. http://scriptureunion.ca/Bible

Bible League provides Scriptures and training worldwide so people prepared by the Holy Spirit will be brought into a relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. https://bibleleague.ca/

Additional links could and should be added to the list above. Please comment and share links to the Bible that you’ve found helpful.

© Scripture Union Canada 2019

2 Corinthians 4:5